MAC: Mines and Communities

Barrick enjoys precious few "Obama moments"

Published by MAC on 2008-11-24

LINKS TO: Australia, Canada, United States, Tanzania, Anglo American, Barrick Gold, gold

In the past month, the world's biggest gold mining corporation has come under fire from several quarters.

The Western Shoshone people in the US deplore its intention to mine in a spiritual area.
An Australian Aboriginal leader is filing a case against the company plans to expand mining on another sacred site.

The Tanzanian authorities are alleging that it Barrick - along with AngloGold Ashanti - have been involved in tax cheating. And a radical publisher in Quebec is slapped with yet a further charge to an existing libel suit.



Thanksgiving the "Cortez" Way - U.S. Ignores Western Shoshone Objections - Barrick Gold Readies Itself to Carve up Mount Tenabo Spiritual Area

For Immediate Release: November 21, 2008

Contacts: Larson Bill, South Fork Band Council of Western Shoshone, 775-744-2565/775-397-6726
Dan Randolph, Great Basin Resource Watch, 775-722-4056 or 775-722-4056
Julie Cavanaugh-Bill, Western Shoshone Defense Project, 775-397-1371
Joe Kennedy, Chairperson, Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, 760-786-9056 or 760-786-2374

November 20, 2008 Reno and Crescent Valley, NV Last week, after years of determined opposition from Western Shoshone, the U.S. Department of Interior, through its Bureau of Land Management (BLM), approved one of the largest open pit cyanide heap leach gold mines in the United States on the flank of Mount Tenabo - an area well-known for its spiritual and cultural importance to the Western Shoshone.

The area is home to local Shoshone creation stories, spirit life, medicinal, food and ceremonial plants and items and continues to be used to this day by Shoshone for spiritual and cultural practices. Over the years, tens of thousands of individuals and organizations from across the United States and around the world have joined with the Shoshone and voiced their opposition to this mine. The mine has been referred to as one of the most opposed mines in the world and indeed the level of public opposition is unprecedented for the BLM. With the threat of mine construction beginning as early as this week, the South Fork Band Council of Western Shoshone, the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, the Western Shoshone Defense Project, and Great Basin Resource Watch, today filed a complaint in the Reno Federal District Court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to stop the mine.

Barrick Gold Corporation, the world's largest gold mining company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, plans to construct and operate the mine, known as the Cortez Hills Expansion Project. The Project area is located entirely within the territory of the Western Shoshone Nation, recognized in the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley. The Mine would blast and excavate a new massive open pit on Mount Tenabo over 900 acres in size, with a depth of over 2,000 feet. It would include several new waste disposal and processing facilities (including a cyanide heap-leaching facility), consisting of approximately 1,577 million tons of waste rock, 53 million tons of tailings material, and 112 million tons of spent heap leach material. The Mine would include an extensive groundwater pumping system to dewater Mount Tenabo (in order to keep the open pit and mine workings dry during mining) and associated water pipelines that will transport the pumped water away from Mount Tenabo. In total, the mine would permanently destroy approximately 6,800 acres land on and around Mount Tenabo, over 90% of which is classified as federal "public" land.

"How are we, as a nation, showing our values, if we allow a transnational corporation to destroy this 'church' for all time, just to get 10 years worth of gold." Says Larson Bill, Vice-Chairman of the South Fork Band Council. "There are dozens of active gold mines on Western Shoshone lands already, there is no need for this one, which is clearly immoral and irresponsible. The public should be aware that Nevada is not a waste land, but is the home of ranchers, sportsmen, fishermen and homesteaders that have enjoyed the lands alongside the Shoshone people for generations. We have been clear in our opposition to this mine and while Barrick tries to cloud the real issues with gifts and money, we continue to oppose this project - they have not bought our people, the traditions nor the lands of the Shoshone." he adds.

The proposed mine area has been found by the BLM, in repeated ethnographic studies, as being of extreme spiritual and cultural importance to the Western Shoshone. One report says: "Mt. Tenabo is ... considered a traditional locus of power and source of life, and figures in creation stories and world renewal. As the tallest mountain in the area - the most likely to capture snow and generate water to grow piñon and nourish life - it is literally a life-giver. Water is to earth what blood is to the body, and these subterranean waterways are likened to the earth's arteries and veins."

Carrie Dann, a world renowned Western Shoshone elder, and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (known as the "alternative Nobel Peace Prize") has been among those to lead the fight to protect Mount Tenabo from mining for over 15 years. "Mount Tenabo should be left alone - no further disturbance. This mine will drain the water from Mount Tenabo. They will be sucking the water out of the mountain forever. The destruction of the water is like the destruction of the blood of the earth; you are destroying life of the earth and the people and wildlife that depend on it. Dewatering is taking the life of future generations. Water is sacred, all life depends on it," says Carrie Dann.

"Next week we celebrate Thanksgiving - The question that the courts and the people of this country need to ask themselves is will we continue to tolerate these violations against the First Peoples of this land or will we finally turn the tide of injustice and protect these sacred areas?" Says Julie Cavanaugh-Bill, Consultant to the Western Shoshone Defense Project.

"None of us are opposed to mining, if it is done responsibly, however this project is as irresponsible as it gets. The BLM has a legal responsibility to protect the air, water, and ecological values of the area as well as the religious freedom of Western Shoshone, and to fully analyze the impacts of a proposed project. In each case, this mine would clearly violate the law." Says Dan Randolph, Executive Director of Great Basin Resource Watch. "This is an example of how the Bush Administration is rushing to protect their corporate friends in their last few months in power. The BLM denied requests to extend the comment period on the Environmental Impact Statement not only from us, but also from several Western Shoshone tribal governments. Therefore, we are forced to now turn to the courts to stop this project. We know that Barrick will begin work on the mine as soon as they can, to cause enough harm in an attempt to make the religious rights arguments moot, and the BLM and Bush Administration appear to be more than willing to help them in every way possible."

The plaintiffs are being represented in court by Roger Flynn of the non-profit legal firm, the Western Mining Action Project, which specializes in mining, public land, and environmental law.

For more information on the Cortez Hills Project, Mount Tenabo, and the legal challenge go to and


December court date for mine legal challenge

17th November 2008

Several days have been set aside in December in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court for a legal challenge to the gold mine near West Wyalong.

The case against the State Government and the mine's operator, Barrick Australia Limited, made by Neville Williams, has been listed for hearing on Monday, December 17.

The case is expected to last up to three days.

Mr Williams is seeking a declaration from the court that a proposal to extract additional ore from the mine is not a request for moderation of a development consent under the law.

The State Government and Barrick Australia are defending the matter.

The mining company wants to undertake a number of works at the Lake Cowal site which would allow it to extract a further 53 million tonnes or ore from the open cut pit.


Auditors uncover how gold mining companies swindle treasury

20th November 2008

By Anceth Nyahore PST, Kahama

One year old Gold Audit Program (GAP) has exposed stunning anomalies in record keeping by some big mining companies whose effect is to deny government huge tax and royalty revenues.

The Head of Finance and Administrative Department at the Gold Audit Program, Bruno Mteta said here last week that mine administration(s) are furnishing the government with incorrect information regarding their actual earnings as contrivance for cheating on levy obligations.

Mentioned are the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine which is owned by Barrick Gold Corporation and Geita Gold Mine under the management of AngloGold Ashanti whose books of accounts claim to have both sustained loses over time, but GAP auditors later discovered that financial records provided did not represent the true picture of operations, Mteta revealed.

He was addressing representatives from surrounding villages who had gathered at Kakola village in Kahama district to attend a special event organized by GAP as part of community sensitisation activities about the contribution of gold mining to national economy.

Mteta further told the gathering of villagers that although profit was not possible to be realised instantly in mining business, some of the companies utterly lied on the gains in order to cheat on royalty payments to the government.

He specifically zeroed in on cheat GAP discovered during recent past upon verification of initial report submitted by Geita Gold Mine administration which indicated huge spending by the scale of millions on construction work and administrative duties.

This report was deliberately twisted in order to justify non-remission of worthy revenue to the government. Sequel to auditing, GAP came to discover 30bn/- was overstated in that category of financial records.

Moreover, he claimed expenditures were not even part of the concluded mining contracts.

It is due to rampant cheating by some of the large scale miners in the country that GAP suggested to the Commissioner for Minerals to initiate a process for the review the existing mining policy and Act to ensure that even the common man benefits from the gold windfall.

A most important proposal includes scrapping some incentives enshrined in Mining Policy (1997) and Act, mostly notorious being the 15 percent additional allowance on unredeemed qualifying capital expenditure so that investors are made to pay 30 percent tax corporate. This would be in addition to paying three percent royalty, withholding taxes, stamp duty, pay as you earn (PAYE), annual rent and application and preparation fees.

Last month, the parliament advised the government to stop issuing any new mining licenses and contracts until new legislations are passed that would ensure government raises its take from foreign mining companies to claw back more money for the county's exchequer.

Barrick Gold issues a new notice of default

Information Bulletin

27th October 2008

On September 19, Editions Écosociété and the three authors of Noir Canada - Alain Deneault, William Sacher and Delphine Abadie - received a notice of default from the international mining society, Barrick Gold. The notice ordered them to cease referring to the lawsuit filed against them as a "SLAPP" (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) in any of their "campaign for solidarity or fundraising, in any media interview or on any Internet websites".

The letter received from the company's lawyers informs the authors and publisher of Noir Canada that in continuing to do so, they are exposing themselves to "additional punitive damages" and that their "behaviour could render any eventual retraction more difficult and embarrassing".

Last May, Barrick Gold, the most important gold extraction company in the world, filed a defamation lawsuit in the amount of $6 million against Éditions Écosociété and the authors of Noir Canada. A few weeks later, Banro Corporation, another gold mining giant, joined them by lodging another suit against the authors and publishers, in the amount of $5 million.

Noir Canada: A simple case of defamation?

With their insistence to present the bibliographic references of the book as "false affirmations" Barrick and Banro want to treat Noir Canada as a simple case of libel or defamation. Nonetheless, the sources cited in the book that report slights of conduct, abuses, even outright crimes on the part of Canadian companies operating in Africa, are numerous and credible enough to warrant a public debate on the issue and the creation of an independent inquiry commission. Authors and publishers cannot be expected to substitute themselves for justice or state apparel, or to present and process evidence by themselves in the end.

A SLAPP manages in effect to impair public debate and restrict freedom of expression by forcing the defence to mobilize all their financial and human resources towards their case. Today, Barrick Gold would like to forbid us to use the expression "SLAPP", effectively being a nuisance to our defence and making it difficult, if not impossible, to campaign for solidarity and to raise funds. This risks depriving us of the necessary resources to cover the fees involved in such legal proceedings. This has become a meta-SLAPP, a SLAPP times ten!

Écosociété and the authors do not intend to back down in the face of what they consider threats. They are going ahead with their work as militant writers and publishers and continue to denounce the "gag lawsuit" that limits free access of all, and in this particular case of university researchers, to public debate.

Academics in support of the authors of Noir Canada.

On September 29, a collective of academics from Université de Montréal and UQÀM published a letter in Le Devoir titled "Barrick Gold's Orwellian discourse", where they assert that "Barrick Gold's lawsuit is a direct attack on freedom of academic research and the right to search for truth in a democratic society". You can read the complete article in our press review:

The president of the Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS), Pierre Noreau, is calling for the "setting up of conditions for a true public debate", among which is "the recognition of the immunity required in the world of research" and that "freedom of speech must be enjoyed by researchers and thinkers in our society". ACFAS is inviting everyone to participate in its campaign of signatures to the letter "To know and say nothing? On the necessity of researchers in the public space" published in the August 21 edition of Le Devoir and available at:

Legal Column
By Alain Deneault, author of Noir Canada, Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique.

A legal action implies, for authors and publishers, to suddenly find themselves in the social position of "defendant", having to mobilize vast amounts of time and energy to build up files and respond to mandatory out of court questioning and rounds of rough interrogation that can extend over many days. Legal proceedings also force the "defendants" to invest considerable sums of money into legal fees, in amounts that are bound to ruin them even before their trial begins, inasmuch as the suing party requests delays and additional documents from the defence. At this point, the "defendants" discover the extent of the rights the suing party has over them.

Money is therefore a fundamental element of the struggle. One only has access to justice to the extent one can afford a lawyer. A lawyer does not defend a citizen but more correctly represents a "client". The concept of "client" is at its base neither judicial nor civic but economic. It implies possession of financial resources. Nonetheless, access to justice is only through a lawyer whom, in principle, defends only his clients-the ones who have the means to pay for his services.

Today, the authors and the publisher of Noir Canada are no exception. Yet they manage to hold strong in the face of two corporations suing them for a total of $11 million, essentially because of popular support manifested throughout the fundraising campaign, and thanks to the incredible generosity of their Quebecois lawyer and of an Ontario legal service, Ecojustice.

Without this support, they would be ruined before a judge has had time to review their case. This forebodes the worst: any book that would displease a "moral person" with colossal funds could bring to ruin its publishers and authors, even if the book in question is made in accordance to research methods prevailing in academic institutions and in the publishing world. The present state of Law administration can have us fear for the worse and should therefore mobilise everyone working in universities, as well as all citizens who value freedom and public debate.

Écosociété requests rapid adoption of Bill 99

On June 13, 2008, recognizing the vast social consensus across Québec to protect freedom of expression, provincial Justice Minister, Jacques Dupuis, proposed Bill 99 titled "Loi modifiant le Code de procédure civile pour prévenir l'utilisation abusive des tribunaux et favoriser le respect de la liberté d'expression et la participation des citoyens aux débats publics".

Éditions Écosociété salutes this initiative aimed towards preserving freedom of speech and giving equal access to justice for all citizens. Yet, we would like to see further points added to the Bill, notably to ensure that a legal action can be declared abusive as soon as it impairs public debate. It goes without saying we would like to see Bill 99 improved in this way and passed as soon as possible.

To get information on the common demands of Éditions Écosociété, Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution athmosphérique (AQLPA), Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes (RQGE), and the Ligue des droits et libertés, go to:

Supporting Les Éditions Écosociété

Éditions Écosociété is asking for your help in this struggle for free access to public debate. Though we benefit from a large network of support and the volunteer work of our legal team, your financial contribution is important and allows us to meet the expenses of these proceedings.

You can make a donation to Éditions Écosociété:
On our website, at
Or by check, to the following address:

Les Éditions Écosociété
C.P. 32 052, Comptoir St-André
Montréal (Québec) H2L 4Y5

You can also:

1. Send this news bulletin out to your contacts and invite them to show their support by signing our petition at:

2. Buy the book Noir Canada :

3. Invite a speaker form Écosociété and/or authors of Noir Canada to attend one of your activities or events to present Noir Canada, to address the issue of pillaging in Africa by Canadian companies, to discuss SLAPPs and their effects, or simply to hold an information and book-selling table.

The Éditions Écosociété team
C.P. 32 052, Comptoir St-André
Montréal (Québec) H2L 4Y5
Phone : 514-521-0913
Fax : 514-521-1283
Email :


Nueva amenaza de Barrick Gold


Boletín informativo

27 de Octubre de 2008

Montreal - La editorial Écosociété y los tres autores del libro Noir Canada - Alain Deneault, William Sacher et Delphine Abadie - recibieron el pasado 19 de Septiembre una nueva amenaza de la compañía Barrick Gold exhortándolos «en el marco de la campaña de financiamiento o de solidaridad, de lobbying político, de eventos promocionales, de entrevistas en medios de comunicación o en sitios web" a dejar de calificar de "mordaza" ("SLAPP", Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) al juicio que la compañía sigue en contra de los autores y su editorial.

La carta jurídica notifica a los autores y a la editorial que, de no hacerlo "se exponen a mayores perjuicios punitivos" y que "su comportamiento provocará eventuales retractaciones, excusas públicas, o acciones reparadoras aún más difíciles y vergonzosas".

Cabe recordar que Barrick Gold, la sociedad aurífera más importante del mundo, emprendió en el mes de mayo, una demanda por difamación por seis millones de dólares contra la editorial Écosociété y los mencionados autores del libro Noir Canada. Una semanas más tarde, otro gigante de la extracción de oro, la Banro Corporation, emprende otra demanda, esta vez, por 5 millones de dólares.

Noir Canada: un simple caso de texto difamatorio?

Insistiendo en presentar las referencias bibliográficas de Noir Canada como "falsas afirmaciones", Barrick y Banro intentan tratar el caso de Noir Canada como un simple caso de texto difamatorio. Sin embargo, las fuentes citadas en la obra relatando casos de mala conducta, abusos, y aún crímenes cometidos por compañías canadienses en África, son suficientemente numerosas y verosímiles, lo cual justifica un debate público sobre la cuestión y la creación de una comisión de investigación independiente. No se puede pedir que un autor o una editorial se substituyan al sistema de justicia o al aparato del Estado, y que sean ellos mismos quienes presenten in fine las pruebas de las afirmaciones de las fuentes citadas.

Un "juicio-mordaza" tiene por objetivo impedir el debate público y restringir la libertad de expresión, obligando a los acusados a movilizar todos sus recursos financieros y humanos para asegurar su defensa. Hoy, Barrick quisiera prohibirnos el uso del término « juicio-mordaza » lo que tendría por efecto perjudicar nuestra defensa y hacer difícil, o mejor dicho imposible, nuestra campaña de solidaridad y de financiamiento. De hecho, esto podría privarnos de nuestro único recurso para asumir los costos que tales procesos jurídicos generan.

La carta de Barrick es entonces un meta-slapp, un slapp al cuadrado! (En inglés: Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation; en español: proceso jurídico estratégico en contra de la participación pública) Écosociété y sus autores no tienen la intención de retroceder ante lo que ellos consideran una amenaza. Al contrario, continúan con su trabajo de editores y autores comprometidos y siguen denunciando los juicios-mordaza que intentan impedir el libre acceso de todos, y en este preciso caso, de investigadores universitarios, al debate público.

Los académicos apoyan a los autores de Noir Canada

Un colectivo de universitarios de la Université de Montréal y de la UQAM publicó en el cotidiano Le Devoir el 29 de septiembre pasado un articulo de opinión titulado « El discurso orweliano de Barrick Gold es un ataque directo contra la libertad de investigación universitaria y la búsqueda de la verdad, esenciales para toda sociedad democrática » Para leer este artículo consulte nuestra revista de prensa en el vínculo:

Pierre Noreau, presidente de la Asociación francófona por el conocimiento (Association francophone pour le savoir - ACFAS), hace un llamado "a la elaboración de condiciones para un verdadero debate público", entre ellas "el reconocimiento de la inmunidad de la cual debe estar investido el mundo de la investigación científica" y " la libertad de expresión que debe ser reconocida al investigador y al pensador de nuestra sociedad".

La ACFAS le invita a participar en la campaña de recolección de firmas de la carta "Saber y callar? De la necesidad de los investigadores en el espacio público " publicada en El Devoir del 21 de agosto 2008, disponible en nuestro sitio web:

Crónica jurídica

Por Alain Deneault, autor de Noir Canada. Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique.

Un juicio legal supone para un autor y un editor descubrirse de pronto en posición de "demandado", y por este mismo hecho, de movilizar una enorme cantidad de tiempo y de energía para constituir archivos y responder obligatoriamente a interrogatorios fuera de la Corte, los cuales pueden extenderse durante varios días.

Una persecución obliga así al "demandado" a emprender gastos judiciales considerables, que tienden a arruinarlo aun antes de que el proceso haya comenzado, al mismo tiempo que la parte demandante exige del mismo mucho tiempo y documentación. El "demandado" descubre así, la amplitud de derechos que tiene sobre él la parte que lo acusa. El dinero se vuelve entonces un elemento fundamental. No se tiene acceso a la justicia si no se tienen los medios pagar un abogado, puesto que el abogado no defiende a un "ciudadano" sino a un "cliente". La noción de cliente no está en su fundamento jurídico, ni cívico, sino económico. Dicha noción implica la posesión de capitales financieros. Así, no se accede a la justicia si no es a través de un abogado y un abogado defiende, en principio, a sus clientes, es decir aquellas personas que tienen los medios para pagar sus servicios.

Los autores de Noir Canada son difícilmente una excepción a esta regla. De cualquier manera los acusados han logrado resistir a los ataques de dos compañías que los demandan por un total de 11 millones de dólares, esencialmente gracias al apoyo de la población a través de la campaña de financiamiento y gracias a la generosidad proverbial de su abogado quebequense y del servicio jurídico de Ontario: "Ecojustice". Sin esta ayuda, los autores estarían en la ruina aun antes de que un juez se haga cargo de su caso.

Este panorama vaticina lo peor : Todo libro que desagrade a una « persona moral » cuyos fondos sean colosales puede ahora llevar al desastre a editores y autores, incluso si el libro en cuestión está escrito de acuerdo con la metodología de investigación que prevalece en medio académico y editorial.

Este estado de situación de nuestra administración de justicia nos lleva a temer lo peor y por lo tanto, a movilizar al medio universitario así como a todos los ciudadanos para quienes el derecho a un debate público sea importante.

Écosociété reclama la rápida adopción del Proyecto 99

El 13 de junio pasado, respondiendo al amplio consenso existente en Quebec para proteger la libertad de expresión, el Ministro de Justicia de Quebec, Sr. Jacques Dupuis, presentó el proyecto de Ley 99 titulado "Ley modificatoria del código de procedimiento civil para prevenir la utilización abusiva de tribunales y favorecer el respeto a la libertad de expresión y la participación de los ciudadanos en debates públicos"

Las Ediciones Écosociété saludan esta iniciativa que busca garantizar la libertad de expresión y favorecer el acceso igualitario a la justicia al conjunto de ciudadanos. Sin embargo, deseamos ver el proyecto de Ley 99 enriquecido, sobretodo a fin de asegurarse de que un proceso legal pueda ser catalogado de abusivo a partir del momento en el que éste tenga por objetivo perjudicar al debate público. Anhelamos que este proyecto de ley sea mejorado y adoptado lo más rápidamente posible.

Para conocer las reivindicaciones comunes de Éditions Écosociété, de la Asociación quebequense de lucha contra la contaminación atmosférica (AQLPA), de la Red de derechos y libertades (RQGE) y de la Liga de derechos y libertades consulte nuestro sitio:


Las Ediciones Écosociété solicita nuevamente su ayuda en esta lucha por la libre participación en un debate público. Pese a que gozamos de una amplia red de apoyos y de un equipo jurídico voluntario, su ayuda es importante a fin de pagar los costos inherentes a este tipo de demandas.

Usted puede hacer una donación a las Ediciones Écosociété a través de nuestro sitio: o enviando un cheque a la direccion:

Les Éditions Écosociété
C.P. 32052, Comptoir Saint-André
Montréal (Québec) H2L 4Y5

Puede también:

1. Difundir ampliamente este boletín y transmitirlo a sus contactos invitándolos a firmar la petición de apoyo:

2. Comprar el libro Noir Canada:

3. Invitar a un representante de Écosociété o a los autores de Noir Canada en el marco de sus actividades o eventos a presentar el libro Noir Canada, para abordar la problemática del pillaje del África por parte de las compañías canadienses, para tratar el tema de las "demandas mordaza" o simplemente para tener un stand de venta y de información.


El equipo de Éditions Écosociété
C.P. 32052, Comptoir Saint-André
Montréal (Québec) H2L 4Y5
Téléphone: (514) 521-0913
Télécopieur: (514) 521-1283


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